Ardingly Solar Car Project
The Ardingly Solar Car Team are the first in Europe to design, build and race a solar-powered vehicle 3,020km from Darwin to Adelaide across Australia in the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. They entered the Cruiser class which is looking into how solar-powered cars can become a practical mode of transport.
Entering the race is the culmination of three years’ work by some 80 Ardingly College pupils aged 11-18 who have been involved.
The modified Lotus 7 chassis is fitted with a custom-built composite shell and 24% efficient Silicon Photovoltaic solar panels. Regulations stipulate that a Cruiser class vehicle must be practical, have four wheels and upright seating for passengers. It needs to comply with a staggering 43 pages and 366 regulations, or risk exclusion from the world’s ultimate solar marathon.
The Ardingly Solar project has worked alongside receiving financial and practical support from industry and sponsors. These include DHL, who flew the car out, McLaren, GTR, Time24, Elekta, NTCadcam and Lincoln Binns, whose CEO John Binns has been the team’s Industry Mentor. They have also worked closely with the Eco Racing Team from Cambridge University.
We had three core teams working on the project:
- The Mechanics Team iresponsible for designing and building our car.
- The Electronics Team whose main task was to design and programme the circuitry and systems needed for the car.
- The Business Team, concerned with issues such as finance, sponsorship and promotion.
"On the 23rd October 2015 Henry Hinder and Holly Hill drove over the finish line of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. 100's of supporters, international film crews, friends and family cheered the team into Victoria square, Adelaide. Henry Hinder describes the 'thrill' of the home straight "it was amazing cruising alongside articulated buses, trams and trucks - negotiating the mad 5 O'Clock rush.
The team left Darwin to the applause of 1000's: 1 wrong turn, a police pullover and a few minutes later they were back in the spotlight - the adventure had begun! A trailer fire, kangaroos, the baking heat of the Australian outback and a few million flies all became a part of the epic 3000km adventure!
Despite having to trailer for some of the event, we are delighted to announce that Ardingly Solar finished 6th out of 13 Cruiser Class entrants beating major technological institutions. Judging was performed against a rigorous rubric of distance travelled, passenger Kilometres, practicality and use of the optional recharge in Alice Springs. As it stands only 25 of the 47 entrants completed the entirety of the race under solar power alone - all cars however, remain incredible feats of engineering, collaboration and human ingenuity.
The 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge attracted the attention of 100's of millions of people from around the world. The event pushed the boundaries of human ingenuity, renewable energy and automotive technology, carving an ever brighter future for solar technology, transport and sustainability. This adventure, this incredible journey has been the work of 100s of Students, our sponsors, and our supporters, we cannot put our sincerest thanks into words."
Follow the team's journey, their story starts 2.37 minutes into the programme. Click here